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thinkinginpictures
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23 Jul 2020, 11:37 am

Is a "thought police" always bad?
Why?

2 scenarios. 1 question.
The first scenario is fiction (I sure hope).
The 2nd scenario is real.

I'm sure president Trump would enjoy support from at least 20-30 % of everyone eligible for vote, no matter what he's doing.

Example: I fear Trump could rape and burn a newborn child to death in full public view for everyone to see, in front of live TV, yet despite of this (fictionary, I hope) crime enjoy support from at least 20 % of anyone eligible for vote in the up-coming election for a second term.

Right now Trump is ordering the feds to arrest civilians protesting peacefully. Nothing will ever happen to Trump, despite these outrageous illegal unconstitutional arrests. This situation however, is not fiction. It's fact. Despite this, Trump enjoys a high approval rating, when you take this crime into consideration.

If I'm correct in all of the above, I have a question for anyone who supports the Democrats or just about anyone who don't support Trump:

Wouldn't you want The State/Government to get rid of anyone who would support a criminal for president no matter what crimes they commit?

Or to rephrase:
Shouldn't there be a least some sort of limit to one's thoughts and opinions in a civilized society?

Be honest: Wouldn't you - deep inside - prefer a "thought police" arresting anyone who would support someone who commit such horrifying crimes? If not, why do you believe every thought/opinion should be acceptable and legal?



Fnord
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23 Jul 2020, 11:50 am

Another Fictional Account of "Political Correctness" in Action

The Thought Police

Perhaps the most misunderstood of Zhodani institutions is what Imperials call the infamous Zhodani Though Police, the Tavrchedl'.  The Thought Police are a branch of the government charged with maintaining right thought by the population.  To non-Zhodani, they are seen as a secret police constantly spying on the population with psionics.  Their mission is to catch anyone who is discontent with the system, their lot in life, or their superiors, and to brainwash them into acceptance of the system.

To the Zhodani, the view is completely different.  The term Tavrchedl' literally means "Guardians of Our Morality"; the organization is seen as filling a role much closer to fireman than policeman.

Zhodani society is a happy one, but even in a happy society, individual members can fall prey to depression, frustration, or disillusionment.  They can still suffer from mental illness or imbalances.

Individuals can make find themselves losing trust or confidence in the-system.  And it is for these people that the Tavrchedl' exist.

Thought Police monitor all of Zhodani society, conducting periodic examinations of individuals in order to ensure that everyone's mental health is at acceptable levels.  But the Thought Police also conduct random sweeps of the community, looking for signs of unacceptable behavior or deviant thought patterns.  When they find such patterns, they seek them out, find their source, and remedy the situation.

Re-education

The cure for any aberrant behavior is reeducation.

The Zhodani psionic society is excellent at reeducation; psionics has made possible extremely efficient reeducation.

Long ago, psionics made possible studies which confirmed what educational techniques worked, and how efficiently.

They allowed academics to plan out lessons which could be learned to any degree of efficiency.  Psionics also makes possible tests and examinations which can confirm that learning has taken place.

The result is excellent diagnosis and careful treatment in reeducation centers.  When treatment is completed, the individual rejoins society without any stigma or blot on his record; the period of re-education is much like a period of recovery from an illness.

The end result is that occasionally a Prole will sit awake late at night, depressed and angry.  Some aspect of society has affected him adversely, and he has been unable to cope with it.

Perhaps he lost his old job and is unhappy with his new one; perhaps he is jealous of a neighbor who is more successful than he is.  The thought patterns spell deviance, and roving Thought Police patrols pick them up.  Late at night, there is a knock at the door.  The Prole knows the Thought Police have arrived; he invites them in.  They enter, talk quietly or loudly depending on what their quick diagnosis indicates.  After a few minutes, the Prole leaves with the Thought Police.  A note is left behind telling where they have gone.  Already, the Prole feels slightly better knowing that someone cares.

A few days or weeks later, the Prole returns home, much happier.

His new job is exactly what he needs and wants; a perfect outlet for his ambitions.  His successful neighbor, he now knows, leads a shallow life without the enjoyment and fulfillment that it should have.  The world itself seems brighter and clearer.


-- Traveller Alien Module 4, Zhodani, "Encounters with the Psionic Masters", GDW, 1985, pp13-14.


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thinkinginpictures
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23 Jul 2020, 12:21 pm

Fnord - It's not the idea of a thought police that should worry anyone. It's how it is being applied.

Ie. I bet a lot of Americans support the death penalty. 70 % or so support DP.
But only few of them, I believe, support murder. There's also a huge difference between murder and capital punishment.

They are both killings. But one is murder, which is illegal, the other is legal/required death of a murderer.

When anyone says "thought police is always wrong", it is equivalent of saying "killing is always wrong". But I bet even more people eat meat - how are you supposed to eat meat without killing? And if you believe in vegetarianism, banning meat altogether and condemn anyone who eat meat, you must also condemn your own life, because it is a result of our ancestors who couldn't get other food than... meat.

I'm merely trying to put a nuanced perspective on the subject of Thought Police.

It's like the good old Godwin's Law being fulfilled: Nazis had Thought Police, so anyone who believes in the thought police are at least similar to the nazis.

My reply is that Hitler quenched his thirst in water. Therefore by the same "logic" applied, anyone who quenches their thirst in water, are like Hitler.

You see the absurdities here?



Fnord
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23 Jul 2020, 12:36 pm

In the Real World, the concept of "Thought Police" is based on the idea of "Criminal Thought" -- that a person could be arrested, charged, tried, convicted, sentenced, and incarcerated for expressing an opinion or fact that runs counter to official doctrine.

Let's imagine that a religious dictatorship declares that the Earth is the center of the universe, and that all other heavenly bodies orbit around it inside a sphere of fixed stars.  Anyone who suggests otherwise could (at the very least) be placed under house arrest for the rest of their lives, have their writings seized, their books burned, and any mention of their work expunged from the official record.

Or let's imagine that a secular tyrant declares that a plague has been eliminated due solely to his superior leadership.  Anyone who suggests otherwise could (at the very least) expect to be publicly ridiculed and denounced by the tyrant, lose their employment, be "ghosted" by others in the same profession, and their work eventually "erased" from the media and academic publications.

The purpose of "Thought Police" is not only to provide a means of enforcement for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Political Correctness, but to make all other modes of thought impossible.


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magz
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23 Jul 2020, 3:00 pm

I've expressed it before: we're not Keepers of The Ultimate Truth Sent Us By Havens. We're sentient apes trying to figure things out.
Exploring the reality with thoughts is a natural process that makes us who we are. Attempts to stop it only cause buildup that ends with revolutions.

The very problem is: we don't have the Oracle of Truth to tell us who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. We don't have the Oracle of Truth to tell us who is right and who is wrong. Thus, all the justice system. Thus, all the peer-reviewing standards. Thus, all the democratic processes. Neither of them is perfect but we don't have the Perfect Oracle of Truth to put in their places.


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Wolfram87
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23 Jul 2020, 3:34 pm

thinkinginpictures wrote:
Is a "thought police" always bad?


Yes. You've had this explained to you many times in excruciating detail.




thinkinginpictures wrote:
Right now Trump is ordering the feds to arrest civilians protesting peacefully.


So peaceful were the protests that a minimum of 28 people are now dead because of them.


thinkinginpictures wrote:
If I'm correct in all of the above


A big "if" if there ever was one.



thinkinginpictures wrote:
Wouldn't you want The State/Government to get rid of anyone who would support a criminal for president no matter what crimes they commit?


No. And furthermore, why wouldn't The Great Orange Evil use that power to get rid of anyone NOT supporting him?


Quote:
Or to rephrase:
Shouldn't there be a least some sort of limit to one's thoughts and opinions in a civilized society?


No, because such a society would be a tyranny by definition.


thinkinginpictures wrote:
Be honest: Wouldn't you - deep inside - prefer a "thought police" arresting anyone who would support someone who commit such horrifying crimes? If not, why do you believe every thought/opinion should be acceptable and legal?


Because I'm not a proponent of tyranny.


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Aristophanes
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23 Jul 2020, 3:39 pm

magz wrote:
The very problem is: we don't have the Oracle of Truth to tell us who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. We don't have the Oracle of Truth to tell us who is right and who is wrong. Thus, all the justice system. Thus, all the peer-reviewing standards. Thus, all the democratic processes. Neither of them is perfect but we don't have the Perfect Oracle of Truth to put in their places.


That reminds me of a quote from the Expanse:

"Good and bad, don’t get distracted by that. It will just confuse you. Good men do bad things, like Fred Johnson. And bad men do things believing it’s for the good of all mankind." Anderson Dawes



RushKing
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23 Jul 2020, 3:43 pm

thinkinginpictures wrote:
Be honest: Wouldn't you - deep inside - prefer a "thought police" arresting anyone who would support someone who commit such horrifying crimes?

No
thinkinginpictures wrote:
If not, why do you believe every thought/opinion should be acceptable and legal?

I don't like the idea of granting a state that much power over its citizens, because the institution is controlled by humans, and human beings --especially ones who wield disproportionate power, aren't perfect.



ASPartOfMe
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23 Jul 2020, 7:53 pm

Would I "prefer" thought police eliminating people whom I believe hold dangerous ideas? Yes. I would perceive the world as less scary for me.

Do I think it is a good idea without an actual crime being committed? Absolutely not. I can not see why any Autistic person would want that. We are often the ones considered wrong and would probably be an early target. It is just not a good thing for the world when outlier thought never gets a chance to be heard.


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23 Jul 2020, 8:23 pm

Quote:
"They who can give up essential Liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty not safety." - Benjamin Franklin


An interesting question: Would those in favour of "thought police" (where at present it is the "left" doing this) still have the same opinion should the "other side" (for example, the "right") someday be in charge of what "thought" was allowed and what wasn't?


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23 Jul 2020, 9:02 pm

I don't think the idea of getting rid of or arresting people simply for their thoughts is a good way to go about things, you would first have to prove that what they are doing is creating harm. And I would say that Thought Policing has historically been used quite a lot against groups like "commies" and LGBT people, with flimsy excuses like being an enemy to "freedom" and being a sick deviant.

I believe that it was a Greek philosopher, Plato, who was under the belief that Philosophers should actually be the ones making the decisions, rather than democratic vote by the masses. And while there is logic where a philosopher could perhaps think more clearly than the masses that might even be unreasonable in making ill informed decisions, I do think that it is a dangerous path that could quickly lose control of what people making decisions would be. So it is better to have a system of trying to convince the majority of people to agree on things, and not actively police what thoughts are allowed. Of course until things like spreading those thoughts can have measurable harm, such as harassment.


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magz
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24 Jul 2020, 3:36 am

Wolfram87 wrote:
thinkinginpictures wrote:
Wouldn't you want The State/Government to get rid of anyone who would support a criminal for president no matter what crimes they commit?
No. And furthermore, why wouldn't The Great Orange Evil use that power to get rid of anyone NOT supporting him?

This is the simplest issue of the concept.
Real life tends to prove it right.


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The_Walrus
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24 Jul 2020, 10:38 am

Lots of people have expressed lots of strong objections to this idea, including:

- it is morally wrong for the state to police people’s thoughts and opinions and how they choose to vote

- the power would never be wielded appropriately because humans are inherently flawed

- it is a bad idea to give the state powers that you wouldn’t want your enemies to have (this is obviously an argument of limited use - I think OP would argue that the issue is about abuse of power rather than that power existing)

I would agree with all of those arguments, but I would add that it is actively good that lots of people are wrong about lots of things.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably confident that lots of your opinions are accurate. But let’s face it, you’re probably not right about everything. You have changed your mind many times, including some quite recently.

Maybe you’re right about 95% of things now. How are you going to improve your opinions? Well, by hearing other people’s. And if you’re right about 95% of things, then 19 out of 20 times that someone disagrees with you, they will be wrong. If you want to be corrected, you’ll need to hear a lot of stupidity.

What if you’re more confident and think you are right about 99.5% of things? Well, actually, now you need to hear even more dissenting opinions if you want to get better. For every 200 people you listen to, 199 of them will be wrong - but one person will say something that makes you change your mind.

We need a lot of people to be wrong a lot of the time so that as a group we get smarter.



thinkinginpictures
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29 Jul 2020, 2:25 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
- it is morally wrong for the state to police people’s thoughts and opinions and how they choose to vote


How is it morally right to allow people to vote for someone who have publicly declared that should the party win the election, genocide is on its agenda?



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29 Jul 2020, 5:48 pm

thinkinginpictures wrote:
The_Walrus wrote:
- it is morally wrong for the state to police people’s thoughts and opinions and how they choose to vote


How is it morally right to allow people to vote for someone who have publicly declared that should the party win the election, genocide is on its agenda?

In that situation, it is better to disqualify the candidate from running. Advocating for genocide should disqualify you from office and should lead to a prison term.



thinkinginpictures
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30 Jul 2020, 4:35 am

The_Walrus wrote:
thinkinginpictures wrote:
The_Walrus wrote:
- it is morally wrong for the state to police people’s thoughts and opinions and how they choose to vote


How is it morally right to allow people to vote for someone who have publicly declared that should the party win the election, genocide is on its agenda?

In that situation, it is better to disqualify the candidate from running. Advocating for genocide should disqualify you from office and should lead to a prison term.


Then you've already imposed "thought police".
This is exactly what I mean: Certain political opinions, like that of advocating genocide, should not be tolerated.